Why Is My Dog’s Nose Hot And Dry?

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
Is your dog's nose not cool and wet as usual? What does this mean? More precisely - should you be worried? This article will give you some much-needed information about your dog's nose.

If a dog is healthy its nose should be cool and moist. True?

This old myth has been present for quite some time and it’s time to finally break it.

So – what does it mean if your dog’s nose is warm and dry?

Did you know that every dog’s nose is unique and no dog in the world has the same nose print? Just like we can be identified by our fingerprints, dogs too can get identified – by their noses! However, even though every dog has a unique nose, they still have many characteristics in common. Usually being cold and dry are some of them. But what if it’s not?

We, dog owners, want our dogs to be happy and healthy – nothing new there. Naturally, we’re doing everything we can for it to stay that way. However, sometimes we face certain situations that are unfamiliar to us and that we’re not sure about.

As we get a lot of questions like My dog’s nose is hot, is he sick? and What does it mean that my dog’s nose is dry?, we decided to answer these questions and help you with this dilemma. But before we start, let’s explain the following:

Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet And Cold?

Some breeds have colder and wetter noses than others, but in general they all have rather moist and cool noses. This is probably a given to you, but have you ever wondered why?

Namely, the dog’s nose is wet because of a layer of mucus at the entrance of the nostrils. It enables your dog to detect the odors and catch the smells. As you know, dogs are so much better at smelling than we are and this is one of the reasons why.

Also, the wet nose helps dogs to cool down. Dogs don’t only breathe rapidly when they want to cool off, they are also “sweating” by releasing moisture from the nose and paws.

As far as the temperature goes, the nose is cooler than the rest of the body because of its moistness and because it’s not covered in fur.

Now, let’s get to the questions that lead you here!

Is My Dog’s Hot Nose A Bad Sign?

A common belief is that a healthy dog has a cold and wet nose. However, this is a misbelief! A dog can be completely healthy and have a warm and dry nose, just like it can be really sick and have a cold nose.

Although a hot nose can indicate fever as well, it doesn’t mean that all dogs with hot and dry noses are sick. In other words, don’t jump to a conclusion as soon as you notice your dog’s nose is a bit warm, it doesn’t have to mean anything. But what does it mean?

Why Is The Nose Hot?

The simple answer to this is – the temperatures of dogs’ noses fluctuate all the time, even hourly. It doesn’t have to mean anything, it can just be a reflexion of the environment or their recent actions.

Considering a dog’s nose is like a cooling tower, this cooling effect is sometimes lost, during very hot temperatures for example. This is why the nose becomes hot and dry, which we’ll talk about later in the text.

However, a hot nose can also be an indicator of fever or another illness. But – it won’t be the only symptom! If your dog behaves like normal and seems happy and healthy, but has a hot nose, nothing is wrong. On the other hand, if your dog shows other symptoms, besides the warm nose, such as lethargy or lack of appetite , something is probably wrong and should be looked into.

To sum it up – a warm nose itself doesn’t have to mean anything. Accompanied with other symptoms though, it can indicate fever or something else.

Why Is My Dog’s Nose Hot?

A hot and a dry nose usually go hand in hand. And just like a hot nose doesn’t necessarily indicate health problems, a dry nose shouldn’t be taken for a bad sign either. It usually just means that your dog’s nose has been through warmer weather.

If you want to be on the same safe – take the dog’s temperature rectally. The normale temperature is between 101 ad 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature is somewhere in between there’s nothing to worry about!

Reasons Behind Hot And Dry Nose

As you can see, a hot and dry nose itself isn’t usually something to worry about and a lot of different reasons could be behind it. Some of them are completely harmless, while others should be looked into. Let’s take a look at what they could be!

1. Sleep

A dog’s nasal membrane is usually quite dry when a dog wakes up from a nap. Although this might worry you at first, it’s completely normal! This happens because your dog stops licking his nose while asleep and naturally, the nose becomes dry. It usually takes 10 minutes or so, after the dog has woken up, for the nose to become wet again.

2. Heat

Besides heat during summer, your dog can be too hot during winter. How? Well, a lot of animals love to sleep close to heating vents and other heating objects when it’s rather cold outside. As a result, the nose can become hot and dry – and even a bit cracked. As long as the nose goes back to its normal state this is nothing to worry about.

3. Allergy

Allergic dogs tend to have dry noses, just like humans. In this case, you should take the dry nose as a sign – if your dog shows other allergy symptoms of course. Take your dog to the vet for further inspections. Depending on the allergy proper treatment will be determined.

4. Irritation

An irritation to plastic food and water bowls is very common among dogs and is often manifested through a dry nose. If you suspect that your dog might have problems with plastic, try switching to a bowl of a different kind, such as stainless steel or ceramic. If the dry nose goes away you’ve found the reason.

5. Sunburn

Many people don’t know that dogs too can get sunburned, especially on their noses! This is why you have to protect your dog’s nose by using a sunblock for pets – if your dog has a nose that stick out, of course. That way you won’t have to worry about your dog having a hot and dry, sunburned nose.

6. Dehydration

If your dog hasn’t been drinking enough water lately, chances are he is dehydrated. As a result, its nose could dry out and crack. If it’s just temporary, it’s usually nothing to worry about, just make sure your dog drinks more water. However, if your dog has a chronic dry nose, take him to the vet and see if something else is behind the dehydration.


The goods news is – a lot of different reasons could be behind a hot and dry nose. Mostly harmless reasons, such as change in temperature or environment. One of the most common reasons is as simple as the fact that your dog stopped licking the nose while sleeping!

However, sometimes a hot and dry nose can indicate something more serious, such as allergy or dehydration. Therefore, it’s important to consider different factors, in order to determine the real cause. Also, if your dog shows other symptoms besides the hot nose, such as lethargy or change in appetite, he or she might have fever or be sick.

The bottom line is – a hot and dry nose is completely normal in most situations, as long as the nose goes back to its normal self after a while. Don’t assume at once that your dog is sick just because the nose is hot, if he’s behaving perfectly fine otherwise. A dog can be completely healthy, even with a hot and dry nose!